Riverside County sheriffs conduct ‘Marijuana Monday’ enforcement activities

Deputies load cut cannabis plants into a roll-off dumpster for disposal during eradication activities Monday, Aug. 19, in Aguanga. Courtesy photo

“Marijuana Monday” cannabis enforcement activities resulted in six people being arrested and several tons of illicitly grown marijuana seized when the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department served search warrants Monday, Aug. 19.

The Hemet Station’s Detective Bureau led the enforcement efforts in Aguanga. The sheriff’s department served five warrants for suspected illegal marijuana cultivation after the department received numerous complaints from residents.

More than 8,000 marijuana plants – weighing approximately 7.36 tons – were taken from properties in the area.

Deputies arrested six people in connection with the searches, and also recovered 10 illegally owned firearms, the sheriff’s department said.

“I am extremely proud of deputies and investigators at the Hemet Station for the extraordinary effort they are putting  into the eradication of marijuana throughout the Anza/Sage/Aguanga valley,” Sheriff Chad Bianco said. “As we continue to increase staffing, the operations will be larger and more often until every illegal grow has been removed.  We are committed to improving the quality of life issues these grows cause that are plaguing our law abiding residents.”

Additionally, Hemet Station Investigators served five search warrants for marijuana cultivation in the community of Anza Thursday, Aug. 22. The Hemet Station’s Detective Bureau led the enforcement efforts, eradicating over 3,300 plants with an estimated weight of 6 tons.

Three rifles and one handgun were located.

Two subjects contacted had outstanding warrants, a misdemeanor and a felony, according to a department representative. The suspects’ identities are not yet available for release.

Dubbed “THC Thursday” by the sheriff’s department, the activities focused on illegal cannabis cultivation.

According to Riverside County ordinances, people 21 and older may grow six cannabis plants for recreational use, but only six plants per lot with a permitted living structure on it.

Medical patients may obtain prescriptions to cultivate 12 plants, with two prescriptions allowed on a parcel with a permitted living structure. At least one patient must live at the property.

As such, total cannabis plant counts cannot exceed 24 per parcel in unincorporated Riverside County.

Much of the marijuana grown in the Anza Valley is slated for out-of-state sales. Grows consisting of thousands of plants are prompting residents to lodge complaints with law enforcement due to issues with odor, traffic, trash, crime, illegal grading and living accommodations and other problems.

The sheriff’s department is committed to eradicating illegal marijuana grows in the county and will continue their efforts throughout the year.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at anzaeditor@reedermedia.com.